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Honda’s best-selling CR-V is no stranger to participating in our long-term tests. In fact, we’ve done long-term evaluations on every generation of CR-V going back to 1997, when the sport-ute first appeared on U.S. shores. (Remember the cleverly packaged picnic table?) We’ve watched Honda continually advance and evolve the CR-V from an oddball Japanese domestic product to a mainstream benchmark SUV. So once again we’ve invited one into our fleet. But before we delve into another 12 months of testing the latest evolution of CR-V, it seems apropos to take a quick look back at some excerpts from past CR-V long-term tests, better helping inform how far its come.
In 1997, after a year of driving Honda’s first-generation CR-V, we said: “A small-displacement engine, curb-side hinged tailgate, awkward power window controls, unique interior trim, and nounless name reveal the not-for-this-market roots, but those endearing elements also lend the CR-V a slight anti-mainstream charm.”
In 2002 we finished up 12 months with a second-gen CR-V: “What the CR-V may lack in sport, it handily makes up for in utility. There’s decent seating for five, and the flat floor allows you to walk between the front seats to stay out of the rain. There are storage areas (21 in all) everywhere, though those in the dash don’t hold CDs. The shifter is mounted to the dash, not the column, so it takes some familiarizing and doesn’t lend itself well to manual shifting.”
Then in 2007 we reviewed Honda’s third-generation CR-V: “Ergonomics are great. I like the openness between the center console and the dash, the double glovebox, and the two-tier cargo hold, which makes stacking light and heavy items possible. For a small sport/ute, the CR-V feels very large inside—tons of room all around.”
2013 brought us a year with a fourth-generation CR-V: “In a CUV market that has shifted its core focus to smaller, lighter, more fuel-efficient tall wagons, the CR-V hits the mark in many ways and pushes the packaging envelope to new cleverness by offering some best-in-class cargo capability.”
Lastly, in 2015 we had 12 months with the midcycle update to the fourth-generation CR-V, which earned our SUV of the Year award: “The CR-V isn’t the most fun to drive, most efficient, or most feature-rich car in its segment, but very few five-seat crossovers do as many things as well as this Honda.”
Like our last long-term CR-V, our 2017 is a top-line Touring model. Equipped with all-wheel drive, it lists for $34,595—that’s $820 more than the 2015 Touring. To sweeten the deal, Honda has packed more tech into its premium CR-V. Full LED headlights (low- and high-beam), rain-sensing wipers, and a hands-free liftgate are now standard on Touring models. Last year’s faux glossy wood interior trim has been replaced by faux matte wood trim, now stretching to the front door panels. Also new to the fifth gen is Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, two back-seat 2.5-amp USB slots, and perhaps the one thing that everyone seems most excited about: a physical (and rightly sized) volume knob on the center console, replacing the digital buttons of the previous car.
All but the base LX model have switched to Honda’s 1.5-liter turbocharged engine. Borrowed from the Civic, once on boost it’s good for ripping and zipping down the boulevards and for tackling on-ramps with minimal effort.
Noteworthy in all ’17 CR-Vs and not just this top-level Touring model: better ride and handling. This is a result of moving the CR-V to Honda’s new Civic platform, giving the vehicle significantly better body control. There is an immediate sense that this new CR-V can be pushed and hustled harder than its predecessor.
Other highlights that are sure to ease day-to-day life in the CR-V are the capless fuel filler and the adaptive cruise control (ACC) with low-speed follow, which allows the vehicle to negotiate stop-and-go traffic and can even bring the SUV to a stop and resume following again. This is all without having to touch the brake or gas pedal. ACC is part of Honda Sensing, Honda’s suite of driver-assist/safety features that come standard on EX, EX-L, and this Touring model.
Honda, not one to rest on its laurels with their best-selling product and feeling the competition nipping at its heels, has a solid chance of gaining market share with this CR-V. Thus far it has received loads of critical praise and even scored a big win in our recent Head 2 Head against Mazda’s new CX-5. Yet our long-term testing tends to have a way of exposing any new vehicle’s weaknesses. Join us as we uncover and validate the hits and misses of Honda’s latest compact recreational vehicle.
|2017 Honda CR-V Touring AWD|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$34,595|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||1.5L/190-hp/179-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|TRANSMISSION||Cont variable auto|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,487 lb (57/43%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||180.6 x 73.0 x 66.5 in|
|0-60 MPH||7.5 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||15.8 sec @ 88.5 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||115 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.82 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||27.9 sec @ 0.60 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||27/33/29 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||125/102 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.66 lb/mile|